By Chris Harris
Sol Campbell is a changed man, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Frenchman has signed the centre back twice as Arsenal manager: first of all when he stunned the Premier League by tempting the then Tottenham captain across the North London lexicon in the summer of 2001. And secondly when he stunned the Premier League by offering the 35-year-old a short-term contract at the start of this year.
Campbell's career path since that first move has taken him to the heights of Premier League glory and a Champions League Final and the depths of a short-lived spell with Notts County before his recent leap back to the top flight.
Wenger has followed Campbell's progress from near and afar and believes the veteran has been changed by his rollercoaster experience.
"He has changed a lot," said the manager ahead of Campbell's return to White Hart Lane in the North London derby.
"He has matured a lot. When he came here [in 2001] he was highly focused to achieve targets in his life.
"After, when he had achieved the targets, he was a bit in no-man's-land because he wondered, ‘where do I go from here?' And he wanted to go abroad.
"Then he went to Portsmouth, where he realised life at the top is life at the top.
"Sol is a guy who wants to live with challenges. He gave himself a challenge to come back to the top and that is what I give him a lot of credit for. If you can convince Sol of a target, he will go for it without any weakness."